Dutch National Library steps into a new future of digital archiving

15 februari 2021 - Recently the KB, the National Library of the Netherlands, signed a multiyear contract with library software maker Ex Libris for the use of their digital archiving system Rosetta. This advanced archiving solution enables the national library to continue its work on preserving digital collections in a more controlled and scalable environment.

Back in 2003, the KB was the first library worldwide to have a digital archive for digital publications in place, which was called e-Depot. In 2010, this e-Depot evolved into its second generation but this too became in need of a substantial face lift. Over the last decade, the KB’s digital collection grew substantially in volume and diversity, due to large-scale digitisation of its paper collections, a paradigm shift in publishing towards digital only, and the KB’s efforts on web archiving. This required a new approach to preservation in which the KB ensures its valuable collection is kept safe for future generations.

New future

The newly acquired archiving solution Rosetta is a so called Digital Asset Management and Preservation System (DAMPS) and has been selected after carrying out a European tender process. Rosetta offers the KB new possibilities to trustfully process and preserve its collection items, at large scale. Jeffrey van der Hoeven, head of the Digital Preservation department: “We’re impressed by the new functionality and performance that Ex Libris’ archiving solution Rosetta offers us. This solution gives us confidence in achieving our goals to guarantee long-term access to our valuable and unique digital collections. Moreover, we are very pleased to be working together with our newly chosen supplier Ex Libris. They are a leader in library solutions and a reliable partner in preservation.”

Half a billion files

In the coming months Rosetta will be taken into production on the KB’s premises. After that, the KB faces a challenging period in which tens of millions of digital publications need to be migrated to this new location. This entails a large amount of digitised books, newspapers and magazines, ebooks, and archived web sites, as well as millions of scientific articles. In total, the collections consists of half a billion digital files and metadata records.

The KB and Ex Libris: important players in digital preservation

Digital preservation is an active field in which libraries, archives, museums and many other organisations of interest are dealing with the fragility of digital information in order to prevent loss of our digital heritage. It tries to ensure digital items remain accessible and understandable for future generations. The National Library of the Netherlands is traditionally a frontrunner in this field as well as an innovator in the technical and organisational aspects of digitisation and archiving. Ex Libris is internationally one of the largest companies dealing with library systems and archiving.

Further information

If you would like to learn more, please contact Jeffrey van der Hoeven, head of the digital preservation department of the KB.